A boat floats on what looks like a huge strawberry milk-lake.

The wooden vessels were photographed from the air bobbing on Lake Retba, in Senegal.

From above the mass of water - which spans one square mile - looks staggeringly similar to a giant milkshake.

lake retba

Giant milkshake: High levels of salt cause the water to change colour

And just like the Dead Sea swimmers are even able to FLOAT on the water with ease.

The bizarre colour is caused by high levels of salt - with some areas containing up to 40% of the condiment.

Michael Danson, an expert in extremophile bacteria from Bath University, said: "The strawberry colour is produced by salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina.

lake retba

Pink on white: The dramatic change in colour as the water meets the shore

"They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink.

"Lakes like Retba and the Dead Sea, which have high salt concentrations, were once thought to be incompatible with life - hence the names. But they are very much alive."

Salt collectors can often be seen scouring the expanse to remove the valuable mineral - but first have to coat their skin with sheer butter.

This helps protect their skin from exposure to the intense salt levels in the three metre deep lake.

lake retba

Villagers process and sell the mineral

Salt crystals cling to the bodies of miners who work the lake everyday to extract its contents.

And towering piles of collected salt litter the shoreline.

Villagers then process it before selling and using the valuable mineral.

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  • Microbiologist Bernard Oliver holds up a sample of the pink water taken from Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • Microbiologist Bernard Oliver holding up a salt crust from Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • An aerial shot of salt piled up along the shoreline of Lake Retba, Senegal - otherwise known as Pink Lake. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • Microbiology researchers sampling water from Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • Microbiology researchers sampling water from Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • Microbiology researchers sampling water from Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • A close up of the extremophile bacteria that causes the pink colour of Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • Microbiologist Bernard Oliver floating in Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)

  • Aerial photograph of salt-collecting boats on Lake Retba, Senegal. (Photo credit: SPL/Barcroft Media)